By Dr. Harold Sala

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.  Luke 22:44

Pressure and stress will either make you or destroy you‑‑it depends on you and how you react to them.  The principle of pressure in nature is described in the law of thermodynamics, and this pressure principle results in many of nature’s wonders. The world’s most precious gem, the diamond, is the result of pressure. Carbon deposits in the depths of the earth respond to intense heat and pressure in producing these coveted bits of stone.  This was demonstrated years ago when General Electric announced the “successful synthesis of diamonds.”  Scientists took carbons and submitted them to more than a million and a half pounds of pressure per square inch, coupled with temperatures of 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit to produce the artificial diamond.

Many of the accomplishments in the last century were the direct result of pressure. Your automobile tire, the explosion of fuel in the piston of an engine, even the stent that holds open a clogged artery in my heart‑‑all of these operate on the pressure principle. Life itself depends on pressure, from the thrust of the unborn infant as he makes his way into the world to the pressures that drive the world of business.  Not all pressures are harmful, but they can be. Pressure inflates the automobile tire, but too much pressure causes a blow-out.  Pressure creates the diamond, but too much pressure disintegrates it.  Pressure applied at the right spot can stop the flow of blood from a deep cut and save a life, but pressure at the wrong spot can take your life.

How about those intangible pressures in your life?  How do they affect you?  The hundreds of messages that come to me tell a great deal about pressure today‑‑pressures in the business world, pressures that cause marriages to disintegrate, pressures that cause teens to throw good judgment to the wind in order to be accepted by their peers; pressures drive us on and on.

A few years ago, three businessmen decided that they would get away from pressure and stress once and for all.  They sold their possessions, walked away from very good- paying jobs, and set sail for a South Seas island.  For a few months they enjoyed the vacation, and then boredom set in. They decided to put together a hotel for vacationing tourists.  The hotel was built and in a few months the trio of transplanted businessmen learned that you can exchange pressures in our weary world, but you cannot escape them.

And what does pressure do?  It produces stress, and how you handle that stress determines whether the pressure will make you or break you.  Stress is not always harmful.  Stress on the string of a guitar allows beautiful music to come from the fingertips of an artist. Stress on the suspension bridge allows it to span the chasm, and stress in your life may motivate you to succeed, but when you are under too much pressure, the stress becomes unbearable.

Have you considered God’s relationship to you in the midst of pressure and related stress?  God is not a safety‑valve for weak people who cannot take the pressure. But He is a refuge, a loving Father who will strengthen you.  You can then accomplish what He asks of you.  When you talk to Him about what confronts you, it is amazing how He will bring thoughts to your mind that hadn’t even crossed your mind. At times you will also hear Him gently say, “Cast your burden upon me.  You are carrying a load far too heavy for any one person to bear.”  Pressure and stress are here to stay, but, then, so is the grace of God that allows you to bear your cross and lean upon Him.  That makes the difference.

Resource reading: Matthew 11:25-28

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